Sharing the Journey: Our First Steps
September 15, 2008--my husband's 24th birthday--was to be the day that we got to meet our first baby via ultrasound. We had no idea that it would also be the day that our world was shaken to the core.
I was 21 weeks pregnant and very excited. The night before, while we were laying in bed, I told my husband that I was nervous. He asked why and I told him, "Because it is always the ones who don't want children or who have 5 other kids and can't afford to feed another mouth who have healthy, perfect babies. It's the ones who did everything right who have problems." He brushed my fears off and reminded me that we had already passed all of the screening tests with flying colors. We went to sleep content, but I still had this nagging anxiety.
We requested a friend of a friend to be our ultrasound tech, so we had to wait a little while for her, but it was worth it. She was so sweet to us. It was amazing to hear that heartbeat and see our baby moving around in there. She was using me to practice her kickboxing but I was shocked to realize that I couldn't feel it yet. We sat there and marvelled at this life inside of me while the sonographer took her measurements. After a long search and some belly wiggling to get the baby to turn over, she finally moved and the sonographer said "It's a girl!" We were so thrilled and all negative thoughts were gone from my mind. She took a few more measurements and pictures before beginning to type in all of her findings. While my husband watched the baby, I watched the sonographer's screen. My mind began to crumble as I watched her skip important measurements like head and heart and she chose "poor" for stomach. My thoughts raced through all of the possibilities and as my eyes filled with tears and I couldn't read anymore, she got up and said, "Let me go get Dr. Welt and see if he can get some better pictures so I can fill in these measurements." She left and I tried to compose myself enough to talk to my husband. His face was positively glowing as the thought of having a daughter began to dawn on him. He asked me what was wrong and as I told him about the "poor" notation and the skipped entries, I began to pray.
The doctor came in and began looking at the pictures. He started listing off abnormalities like "ventricular septal defect", "rocker bottom feet" "clenched fists" and "the lemon sign" and the tears started to flow down my cheeks and into my hair as my biology background kicked in and I realized what was going on. My husband looked on in confusion until the doctor said those terrible words--"incompatible with life". At this point we were both crying and the teary-eyed sonographer passed out tissues. Dr. Welt started talking options and further diagnosis and then left the room so that we could decide what we wanted to do. I sat up on the table and sobbed into my husband's chest as he whispered prayers into my hair. They escorted us to a waiting area to talk to a genetic counselor. She seemed very uncomfortable and almost uncaring as she grilled us about the preliminary diagnosis and what the doctor had said to us. (I wanted to tell her to leave and come back after she had read the chart.) We opted for an amniocentesis so that we would know for sure and once again we were left in the room alone to contemplate our fate. During this short time, we called our closest pastor/mentor and he prayed with us on speakerphone in that little conference room. We were ushered down the hall, prepped, and punctured within 15 minutes. One of the most difficult things about that day was having to walk back out through that waiting room filled with swollen bellies and smiles. I felt it was my duty to hide my splotchy, tear-stained face from them in order to protect that innocence that I had only hours before. Sometimes, I still feel that obligation to be silent, to protect those who are still innocent...
What helped me through was the fact that my husband stood and cried with me. If he had shied away or not been willing to talk through things openly, I don't know what I would have done. Some time later, I discovered Bring the Rain which became a huge source of encouragement for me.
2 Chronicles 20:17 (NIV)
You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "
I have a prayer request for my husband and I as we walk this road. We seem to be walking further apart than we were in the beginning, but not dangerously so. We have been under attack in every area--jobs, finances, health, family--in the last 8 months, so we covet your prayers.
Eleven years a mother
2 months ago